The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is looking to expand. It has invited five countries to start talks about joining – Russia, Israel, Chile, Estonia and Slovenia. The OECD’s Secretary General José Ángel Gurría told reporters there is no timeframe for conclusion of the negotiations and no guarantee they will lead to membership.
The move is to reflect changes in the world economy. When the OECD was set up in 1961, its 30 member countries represented three quarters of global wealth, but now it accounts for only 60% and that total is falling. The OECD, with its headquarters in Paris, has an annual budget of 340 million euros to promote free market ideas.
In Moscow, the head of the economic cooperation department at the Russian foreign ministry, Andrei Kondakov, said this underscores the international community’s approval of the country’s economic and political reforms. He added that membership would allow Russia to participate in global economic processes more actively.
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also welcomed the decision saying it is “a new measure of confidence accorded by the OECD to the Israeli economy, its force and its development capacity.” The OECD is also considering future membership for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa.